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Beyond proud, we're
exhilarated by this month's calendar of events, which affirms what Women
& Children First is and what we stand for. Alongside author
readings of brilliant works of fiction, our August events feature highly
anticipated nonfiction books exploring the history of marriage
equality, the rise of rape culture, and the deep-rooted stereotypes that
feed systemic racism. We are also extremely excited to champion several
emerging feminist voices: graphic novelist Leah Hayes, music critic
Jessica Hopper, and memoirist Suzanne Scanlon. Trust us. You will be
hearing a lot from these women for many years to come.
And, you'll be hearing a lot from us
over the next few months with some very big announcements regarding
some massive events in late October. Take a look at this newsletter's
"and announcing . . ." section toward the bottom to get a first peek at
characters in these nine short stories abandon families, plot
assassinations, nurse vendettas, tease, taunt, and terrorize. Probing
the dark underbelly of human nature, Robin McLean's stories are strange,
disturbing, and funny. Robin McLean was a lawyer and then a potter for
15 years in the woods of Alaska before receiving her MFA at the
University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Reptile House,
her first collection, won the BOA Short Fiction Prize and was a
finalist for the Flannery O'Connor Short Story Prize in 2011 and 2012.
McLean's stories have appeared in the Nashville Review, the Malahat Review, and the Common and Copper Nickel, as well as the anthology American Fiction: The Best Unpublished Short Stories by Emerging Writers.
A figure skater first--having learned to skate and walk at the same
time--McLean believes that crashing on ice prepared her for writing
fiction. She currently teaches at Clark University and splits her time
between Newfound Lake in Bristol, New Hampshire, and a 200-year-old farm
in western Massachusetts.
Most people think of love and contracts as strange bedfellows, or even opposites. In Love's Promises,
however, law professor Martha Ertman shows that far from cold and
calculating, contracts shape and sustain families. Blending memoir and
law, Ertman tells her own moving, often irreverent story about becoming
part of a "Plan B family" of two moms and a dad raising a child. Ertman
shows that all kinds of people--straight and gay, married and single,
related by adoption or by genetics--use contracts to shape their
relationships. Sometimes hidden and other times openly acknowledged,
these contracts ensure that the people they think of as family are
legally recognized as family in the eyes of the law. Martha Ertman is a
law professor at the University of Maryland Carey Law School and has
taught, written, and spoken about contracts and family law for two
decades. She edited Rethinking Commodification: Cases and Readings in Law and Culture and lives in Washington, DC, with her family.
Friday, August 7 - Viki Noe Friend Grief: Death in the Workplace Book Launch Party A READ LOCAL EVENT 7:30 p.m.
probably spend more time with them than with your family. So when a
friend at work dies, it's a personal blow and a professional challenge:
how can you grieve and continue doing your job? In this fifth book of in
the Friend Grief series, you'll meet a variety of folks--a nun, a
racecar driver, a choreographer, and others--who struggled with
loneliness and loss and strove to honor the friendships that lasted
longer than 9 to 5. Victoria Noe has worked professionally as a stage
manager, director, administrator, a founding board member of the League
of Chicago Theatres, a professional fundraiser, and an award-winning
sales consultant of children's books. Her freelance articles have
appeared in Windy City Times, the Chicago Tribune, and Huffington Post. Her blog, Friend Grief,
was named one of the top ten grief support websites in 2012. Joining
Noe will be contributor and Grief Recovery Specialist Lynn McCollum
Staley. Author of In Death Is the Secret to Life: A Tribute Journal,
Staley has been trained through the Grief Recovery Institute and
facilitates The Grief Recovery Method™ Outreach Program. For more
information, visit www.life-after-loss.com
or follow her on Facebook. Bring your friends and colleagues to join
this launch party and discussion. Refreshments will be served.
Mon., Aug. 3rd through Sun., Aug. 9 - Annual Member Sale!
Members of Women & Children First receive 20% off all in-store purchases for a whole week!*
Membership to Women &
Children First costs just $25 a year and gets you 10% off every day--and
20% off during our Member Sale! Consider becoming a member today and
supporting your favorite local feminist bookstore!
*excludes gift cards, special orders, and Kobo e-readers
Join us for the
Chicago launch of this witty and intelligent story collection from one
of our favorite local authors. A reality show producer manipulates two
contestants into falling in love, while her own relationship falls
apart. In an unnamed country, a composer records the folk songs of two
women from a village on the brink of destruction. Ranging from comedy to
tragedy to the surreal, from the world of academia to war zones, these
fifteen stories ask the question of what it means to be an artist in a
brutal and sometimes ugly world. Makkai is the author of The Hundred-Year House, a winner of the Chicago Writers Association's Book of the Year award, and The Borrower, a Booklist Top Ten Debut that has been translated into eight languages. Her short fiction was chosen for the Best American Short Stories for four consecutive years and appears regularly in journals like Harper's, Tin House, and New England Review. The recipient of a 2014 NEA fellowship, Makkai will be visiting faculty this fall at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.
The court's decision in Varnum v. Brien
made Iowa only the third state in the nation to permit same-sex couples
to wed. Unlike earlier decisions in Massachusetts and Connecticut, Varnum v. Brien was
unanimous and unequivocal. It catalyzed the unprecedented and rapid
shift in law and public opinion that lead to the recent SCOTUS decision.
Equal Before the Law tells the stories behind
this critical battle in the fight for marriage equality and traces the
decision's impact. Longtime award-winning reporters Tom Witosky and Marc
Hansen include conversations with dozens of key figures, including
opponent Bob Vander Plaats and proponents Janelle Rettig and Sharon
Malheiro. At the center of the story are the six couples who sacrificed
their privacy to demand public respect for their families. For
thirty-three years, Tom Witosky covered Iowa politics, law, business,
and sports for the Des Moines Register.
Witosky and his wife, Diane, are the parents of two grown children and
grandparents of three children. They live in Des Moines, Iowa. Marc
Hansen spent more than thirty years writing sports, metro, and
feature-page columns for the Des Moines Register.
Hansen and his wife have three adult children. All have moved out of the
family home near Des Moines, while refusing to take the dog and cat.
4 p.m. In
this bold graphic novel two young women from different cultural,
family, and financial backgrounds go through two different abortions
(medical and surgical). It follows them through the process of choosing a
clinic; reaching out to friends, partners, and/or family; and
eventually the procedures themselves. A little bit technical, a little
bit moving, and often funny, Not Funny Ha-Ha is a
nonjudgmental, comforting look at what a woman can go through during an
abortion. The author takes a step back from putting forth any personal
opinion whatsoever, simply laying out the events and possible emotional
repercussions that could, and often do occur. Leah Hayes is an
illustrator, musician, graphic novelist, songwriter, and producer. She has published several books with Fantagraphics, including Funeral of the Heart and HolyMoly. She also has several albums out with her band, Scary Mansion, writes songs, and produces beats for pop and hip-hop artists.
7:30 p.m. When
African women arrived on American shores, the three-headed
hydra--servile Mammy, angry Sapphire, and lascivious Jezebel--followed
close behind. In the '60s, the Matriarch, the willfully unmarried baby
machine leeching off the state, joined them. These stereotypes persist
to this day through newspaper headlines, Sunday sermons, social media
memes, cable punditry, government policies, and hit song lyrics. Tamara
Winfrey Harris delves into marriage, motherhood, health, sexuality,
beauty, and more, taking sharp aim at pervasive stereotypes about black
women. She counters warped prejudices with the truth about being a black
woman in America. Tamara Winfrey Harris is a writer whose work has
appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times; In These Times, Ms., and Bitch magazines; and online at Salon, the Guardian, xoJane, and Psychology Today. She has been called to address women's issues in major media outlets, such as NPR's Weekend Edition.
An Indiana native with more than 20 years of experience in journalism,
public relations, and marketing, Tamara also teaches public speaking
classes to college students.
Thursday, August 20 - Gay Women's Gathering - An Evening About Lesbian Pregnancy
Sponsored by the American Fertility Association
(AFA), come learn the do's and don't's of choosing a sperm donor,
getting pregnant through insemination or in vitro fertilization,
unraveling the legal realities, and maintaining optimum health during
pregnancy. The AFA is an inclusive not-for-profit organization committed
to helping people create their families of choice by providing outreach
programs and timely education. Refreshments will be served.
Congressman Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" gaffe to the high school
rapists of Steubenville, Ohio, sexual violence has been so prominent in
recent years that the feminist term "rape culture" has finally entered
the mainstream. But what, exactly, is it? And how do we change it? In Asking for It,
Kate Harding answers those questions in the same blunt voice that has
made her a powerhouse feminist blogger. Combining in-depth research with
practical knowledge, Asking for It makes the case
that twenty-first-century America--where it's estimated that for every
100 rapes there are only 5 felony convictions--supports rapists more
effectively than victims. Harding offers ideas for how we, as a culture,
can take rape much more seriously without compromising the rights of
the accused. Kate Harding has been writing popular feminist rants online
since 2007, most notably at Jezebel, Salon's Broadsheet blog, and at her own blog, Shapely Prose. She is the coauthor of Lessons from the Fat-o-sphere, a major contributor to The Book of Jezebel, and an essayist in several anthologies, including Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World without Rape. A former Chicagoan, she now lives in Minneapolis.
Join us for a special story time celebrating The Day the Crayons Came Home, the highly anticipated sequel to the beloved picture book The Day the Crayons Quit. This "Home Coming Party" will feature activities, snacks, and a visit from one of the crayons!
years after the sexual revolution, we are told that we live in a time
of unprecedented sexual freedom. But beneath the veneer of glossy
hedonism, millennial journalist Rachel Hills argues that we are
controlled by a new brand of sexual convention: one that influences all
of us--woman or man, straight or gay, liberal or conservative. At the
root of this silent code lies The Sex Myth--the
defining significance we invest in sexuality that once meant we were
dirty if we did have sex, and now means we are defective if we don't do
it enough. Equal parts social commentary and pop culture critique, woven
together with powerful personal anecdotes from people around the world,
The Sex Myth
exposes the invisible norms and unspoken assumptions that shape the way
we think about sex today. Rachel Hills is an Australian journalist
living in New York City. Her work has been published widely both in
print and online, in publications including Vogue, Cosmopolitan, theAtlantic, and the Daily Beast. Her blog, Musings of an Inappropriate Woman, has more than 100,000 subscribers spanning the globe.
Friday, August 28 - Jessica Hopper and Suzanne Scanlon
Join us as we celebrate two of the most captivating voices in Chicago's literary scene today. For this event, Jessica Hopper (The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic) and Suzanne Scanlon (Her 37th Year: An Index)
will begin with a reading followed by a conversation moderated by Naomi
Huffman, editor-in-chief at Curbside Splendor. Jessica Hopper's The First Collection
documents the last 20 years of American music-making and the shifting
landscape of music consumption. Featuring album reviews, essays,
columns, essays, interviews, and oral histories, this book journeys
through the insurgence of Riot Grrrl; decamps to Gary, Indiana on the
eve of Michael Jackson's death; examines the rise of emo's; and much
more. Hopper's work regularly appears in the Chicago Reader, LA Weekly, and SPIN, among others. She is also the music consultant for the public radio show This American Life
and has worked as a tour manager, band publicist, DJ, touring bassist,
Girls Rock Camp booster, and fanzine publisher. She lives in Chicago.
Suzanne Scanlon's experimental memoir Her 37th Year: An Index
is the story of a year in one woman's life. Structured as an index, the
work is a collage of excerpted conversations, letters, quotations,
moments, and dreams. An exploration of longing and desire, the story
follows a moment of crisis in a marriage and in the life of a woman who
remains haunted by an unassimilable past. Suzanne Scanlon is the author
of Promising Young Women. She lives in Chicago and teaches in the creative writing programs at Columbia College and Roosevelt University.
Sunday, August 30 - Chicago Women's Book Group Celebrates 40 Years! 2 to 4 p.m.
In 1975 a group of
women started a unique book group where only women authors would be
read. Now, 40 years later, they're still going strong! The group chose
to celebrate at Women & Children First because many of its members
have been followers of the bookstore from since it opened on Armitage
Ave. Their excitement over books by women is stronger than ever!
Save the Dates
Wednesday, September 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Carrie Etter with special guests Hilda Sheehan, Don Share, Jacquelyn Pope
**Please Note: this is a ticketed
event that will be held at the People's Church (941 W. Lawrence Ave).
You must purchase Gloria's forthcoming memoir My Life on the Road from Women & Children First in order to attend. Children 12 and under get in free. Tickets go on sale August 1st.**
note: this is a ticketed event that will be held at the Swedish
American Museum (5211 N. Clark St.). You must purchase Geraldine's
forthcoming novel, The Secret Chord, from Women & Children First to attend. Tickets go on sale August 10th.**
the Space Foundation's third Summer of Discovery comes to a close later
this month, our team and our partners in STEM education have much to
celebrate. In little more than two and a half years of operation, our
Space Foundation Discovery Center (SFDC) has grown from less than 2,000
square feet to about 17,000 square feet. Importantly, during this time,
with the help of our donors, corporate partners, volunteers, docents,
teacher liaisons and others, we have been able to provide hands-on STEM
education opportunities at the Discovery Center for nearly 60,000 people
-- the vast majority, children. ...